Erich Norris, 67, passed away March 4, 2020

Erich Norris, 67, of Benton Harbor passed away Wednesday evening, March 4, 2020 at the Hanson Hospice Center in Stevensville.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Monday, March 9, 2020, at 11 AM at Zion United Church of Christ, 3001 Veronica Dr., St. Joseph, with Pastor Adam Bohland officiating. Burial will follow the service at Mission Hills Memorial Gardens in Niles. Friends may visit with the family on Sunday, March 8, 2020 from 2 PM until 4 PM at Starks & Menchinger Chapel, 2650 Niles Rd., St. Joseph. Memorial contributions may be made to the Berrien County Youth Fair, Zion United Church of Christ – St. Joseph or the Berrien County Cancer Services. Thoughts may be shared with the family online at

Erich was born on April 2, 1952, in Niles, to Robert & Irene (Kerlikowske) Norris. He started his education at National School, a one-room schoolhouse in Berrien Center. He attended with his sister, Connie Hughey, until the school closed in 1964. It was the same one-room schoolhouse his father attended through 8th grade. He went on to graduate from Berrien Springs High School. Erich continued his education by earning his bachelor’s degree in Animal Nutrition from Michigan State University. He was a huge supporter and fan of the school. He also had a graduate degree from North Dakota State University. He loved the Dakotas and enjoyed a few years as a cowboy there.

Erich was a farmer and cowboy at heart. He spent most of his life on his family farm with his father, Robert Norris, in Berrien Center raising cattle, hogs, grains and Michigan certified seed. He was one of the very first breeders of Chianina Cattle in MI. In addition to his career as a farmer, Erich was also a realtor in Lansing and Southwest Michigan and truck driver with Tri-Campbell Trucking in North Dakota.

He shared his farming knowledge as an agriculture teacher for eight years at Southwestern Michigan College, was a professional livestock & horse judge, and was always active in the Berrien County Youth Fair and 4-H. He won many awards including outstanding 4-H leader and was the Chairman of the Handicapped Riding 4-H program.

In addition to his love for animals, Erich was a history buff and avid reader. He had a passion for the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and Native American history, specifically the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Indians. He also enjoyed hunting deer and turkey and fishing the inland lakes. He volunteered at the Heddon Museum in Dowagiac, which celebrates the sport of fishing.

Erich was an active lifelong member of Zion United Church of Christ - St. Joseph, a Commander with the American Legion Post 85 in Berrien Springs and an active member of the D.A.N.K. Chapter 13 Club in Benton Harbor. Erich had many passions, but nothing was more important than family.

Erich is survived by his father Robert; sister, Connie (Richard) Hughey of Niles; niece, Alison (Dennis) Clifford and their children Kellan, Hugh and Shane of Chicago; nephew, Richard (Kirsten) Hughey of Niles; and many cousins and close friends. He was preceded in death by his mother, Irene Norris, in 2012. 

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